by Peter Castellas, Chief Executive Officer of the Carbon Market Institute.
In Australia, for those of us who want to see strong action on climate change to meet our Paris commitments, you can be forgiven for feeling a little pessimistic, even dispirited
The unnecessary and (sadly) predictable partisan battle lines over federal climate policy, the relentless misinformation from conservative media outlets, the airplay given to ill-informed climate sceptics and the head winds blowing across the Pacific from the Trump administration don’t tend to send the most positive signals.
However, when exposed to some of the technology, market, policy and strategic business developments happening on the ground, there is a lot to be optimistic and enthusiastic about. At CMI we are lucky that we interact with members and stakeholders domestically and internationally who illustrate that market forces are moving us along the low carbon trajectory. Through these conversations, we are reminded that carbon pricing is gathering so much momentum, particularly in our region, that is no longer a ‘desirability’ but an ‘inevitability’.
Every day we are encountering developments that provide evidence that the long exciting journey to zero net emissions has begun. Just some of these trends are that:
- The scale of carbon abatement activity under the ERF is generating significant economic activity in rural Australian electorates;
- Companies are undertaking scenario planning to determine strategies to manage risks in a 2 degree world;
- There is increasing corporate, sub-national government and community interest in voluntary carbon offsetting;
- 20 large renewable energy projects are either already under construction or will start this year, creating almost 3000 direct jobs and generate more than $5 billion of investment;
- State Governments are convening to collaborate on meeting climate goals, such as the Climate Action Roundtable that was held in Cairns last week and setting clear targets, such as Victoria’s bold Climate Change Act that last week enshrined in law a net-zero emissions goal for 2050;
- An APRA Board member acknowledged the reality that climate change poses a material financial risk for Australian business and the economy and the Financial Stability Board Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure recommendations has reinforced industry and investor appetite for climate-related financial risk disclosures for use by companies in providing information to investors, lenders, insurers, and other stakeholders; and
- Internationally, the world’s biggest emitter, China, will put a national price on carbon when its kicks off its ETS this year, shifting to it the centre of gravity of global climate action to our region.
It’s easy to get distracted with negative perceptions of policy inertia, but when you look for positioning, collaboration, innovation, and commercial activity, it’s happening at pace.
I look forward with excitement and enthusiasm to bringing many of the key stakeholders together for the 4th Australian Emissions Reduction Summit on 2-3 May in Melbourne at the MCG. The early bird ends today – register now to avoid disappointment.